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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Health Center

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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome - When To Call a Doctor

It's important to talk to your doctor about any symptoms you may have.

Call your doctor if you have:

  • Severe fatigue that lasts longer than 2 weeks, causes you to limit your usual activities, and does not improve with rest.
  • Sleep problems that last for more than 1 to 2 months. These problems may include being unable to fall asleep or stay asleep, tossing and turning, and waking up feeling tired or not rested.
  • Swelling in the glands in your neck or armpits (without other signs of infection) that lasts for at least 2 weeks.
  • Severe fatigue along with frequent urination (especially at night), extreme thirst, weight loss, or blurred vision. Fatigue that occurs with some or all of these may be a symptom of undiagnosed diabetes.
  • Headache that lasts longer than 2 weeks.

Watchful waiting

Watchful waiting refers to a period of time in which you are being watched by your doctor but are not getting treatment. A month or two of paying close attention to your sleep habits, getting regular moderate exercise, trying to control stress, and eating a balanced diet will take care of most cases of fatigue not caused by CFS or another medical problem. But if your fatigue has not improved after 1 to 2 months of self-care, or if fatigue won't go away and limits your usual activities, call your doctor.

If you have been diagnosed with CFS, pay attention to any new symptoms and report them to your doctor. Although CFS can cause a variety of symptoms, new symptoms could be caused by another illness or medical condition that may need to be evaluated and treated.

Who to see

The following health professionals can evaluate fatigue and other symptoms:

There are doctors who specialize in the treatment of CFS. Get a recommendation from your family doctor or a local CFS support group before you make an appointment with a specialist. It is always wise to start with your family doctor. You may also be referred to a physiatrist, psychologist, or psychiatrist.

To prepare for your appointment, see the topic Making the Most of Your Appointment.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 12, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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